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COVER STORY SUN TIMES/SHOPPER February 26, 2020


LETHBRIDGE HERALD FILE PHOTO BY IAN MARTENS The annual ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival was chosen by readers as Best Charity Event in the annual Best of the Best survey conducted by the Sun Times/Shopper. Public chooses the Best of the Best


Readers cast their votes in a record number of categories in annual survey Dave Sulz


Sun Times/Shopper L


ethbridge and area residents have once again chosen the cream of the crop, and done so in a record


number of categories. The 2020 results are


in for the Best of the Best survey, the annual reader-driven poll conducted by the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper, and this year voting took place in more than 150 categories. All told, just under 130,000 votes were cast by close to 30,000 unique voters. In spite of a


challenging economic climate that makes operating a business more challenging for “the little guys,” the survey featured a strong showing by many independently owned local businesses in a number of categories. “These are tough times for retailers but


the people of Lethbridge are still supporting local businesses,” said Brian Hancock, director of sales for the Sun


Times/Shopper. “Lots of locally owned businesses won a lot of categories.” As an example, Hancock pointed to


the winner in the Best Flooring Store category, Hamilton Carpet One Floor & Home, located on 2 Avenue South close to the city’s controversial Supervised Consumption Site. “That’s a feel-good story,” said


Hancock. “People are trying ... to help him out in a tough time,” said Hancock. The half-dozen new categories include Best Alternative Health Service, Best Endodontist, Best Massage Therapist (separate from the Best Massage Company category) and Best Hot Tub Store. In the roughly


25 years that the Best of the Best survey has been running, it has grown tremendously from its origins when organizers received some 400 hand-written ballots covering about 20 categories. The move to an online voting system has enabled the survey to


LETHBRIDGE HERALD FILE PHOTO BY TIJANA MARTIN


Johnny Reid, seen performance at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, was chosen as Best Concert in the 2020 Best of the Best survey.


“It’s just amazing,” Hancock previously


take in tens of thousands of votes and the field of categories has expanded by about seven times its original size. In recent years non-business categories were added just for voters’ entertainment, such as Best Park, Best Concert and Best Charity Event.


said about the survey’s growth from its humble beginnings. “We run it but the people of Lethbridge have taken ownership of it. We just steer the boat. They do the rowing.” The survey has also come to be


appreciated by the local business community, with business operators seeing it as valuable feedback about their performance. For the winners, serves as


validation that they’re doing things right and it is appreciated by their customers. Many businesses proudly display their Best of the Best plaques. It also serves as a useful guide for consumers, especially those new the city, as to which businesses are highly regarded. The complete Best of the Best issue can


also be viewed online at lethsuntimes.comand lethbridgeherald.com.


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